The Official Death of Keywords

At long last Google this week confirmed what most of us in the industry knew already – meta-keywords are not used in organic search rankings. No real surprise there to be honest! Although, what those who still sell it as a service will do, we have no idea.

The announcement was made in a post on the Google Webmaster blog the other day and has triggered the usual speculation and discussion that surrounds Google’s regular dissemination of information, most of which involves the usual picking apart of the statement looking for hidden meaning. Perhaps Dan Brown’s latest book is stirring up the SEO industry in its week of release?

Our View on Meta-Keywords

Our view on keywords has always been simple and straightforward: don’t bother. We have seen no difference in ranking ability of two pages that possess and lack keywords respectively, none whatsoever. Likewise, we have never seen any impact on ranking come about as a result of meta-keyword tweaking.

Meta-Descriptions Make Sense

The post also mentions that Google has not used the Meta-Description field for ranking purposes for a number of years, however, our experience is that the description field can actually aid matters as it plays a crucial role in determining the click-through rate of a listing on a search engine ranking page (SERP). Our view is that the higher the CTR on a link, the likelier the associated page is to rank more highly. Furthermore, the higher the click-through rate of a page, the more traffic you’re likely to attract, so a well optimised and written description can really make a difference.

If you don’t include a meta-description then Google will select a snippet of text from your site, which might not work as well as a bespoke one. We use the meta-description field to display the Mackerel Media phone number on the SERPs page, as you’ll be able to see here. Neat eh?

Looking to the future, we can only hope that now Google has cleared keywords up, they’ll move swiftly on to link spam blogs, dubious paid link vendors and all the other fun issues that keep us busy. Hmm…perhaps we’re a little too optimistic.